After reading “Six American Children” and “Shall We Overcome,” I wondered what happened to the Democrat party. The writer states that our country’s historic racism, prejudice and poverty spring from white people. Whites, according to the piece, had no other motive but to “systematically oppress, uproot harm and kill.” Today, the narrative continues, “racism, prejudice, poverty, poor education and unemployment” are remnants of white racism.
I remember the Democrats who used to represent the party. Liberals like Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that his children would one day not be judged by the color of their skin, but on the content of their character.
To depict European immigrants who came here preceding our nation’s founding as only whites on an evil mission does both– judges skin color and impugns character on the basis of race. These same politicians insist on labeling the immigrants todaycoming into our country from the southern border as “brown.” This depiction carries the weight of victimhood status and keeps their narrative alive; racism is everywhere.
Race informs everything. As a child of the civil rights era, this narrative feels like an infection which hasentered our nation’s mind causing severe illness. The new American nightmare views our citizens not as individuals with diverse motives and character, but as racial victim groups which need the help of a political party to thrive. To me, it is the exact opposite of MLK’s view of racial reconciliation.
I believe that it is no accident that Western Civilization history, which touts the Enlightenment view of individual rights and responsibility, has been replaced in most universities with black, women and white studies all of which attribute white racism to the cause of their supposed victimhood.The narrative implies that victims need allies, advocates and government to give them agency, power and freedom. They need reparative justice, speech codes, affermative action and other policies which arm their implied lack of initiative, inherent equality and personal power.
Which brings me to John F. Kennedy, another liberal Democrat who exhorted us to ask not what our nation can do for us, but what we can do for our nation. His work with MLK in securing the Civil Rights Act showed what people can do when they work in coalition withothers. All of the amazing gains which have been made in our country towards eliminating the remnants of global racism and slavery, which ended up in our new nation, have been made by coalitions of blacks, whites, religious people and both political parties. Our founders struggled to put an end to black slavery from the beginning even while engaged in it. We fought a civil war to end it. Our founding documents were informed by the issue of slavery and were written to ensure that it could not ﬂourish in this new republic. Slavery was pervasive on the globe and our founders had to deal with it and they did. Less than a hundred years into our new country, slavery was abolished. But the new narrative does not focus on our gains of racial-reconciliation. It actually seems invested in maintaining accusations of racism for political-purposes. It keeps racism alive and well. Huge amounts of money are devoted towards implicit bias training to make sure it is always in view.
This is not liberalism. It is politics at its worst. Liberals, with many others, helped to abolish slavery and condemn racism without enshrining reverse racism into the basis of their new narrative.
Katherine Nicolet is a long-time resident of Lakeside.